Scenic photo of the Chipola RiverCalhoun County

This river is home to the unique shoal bass. When fishing for shoal bass, follow the same bag and minimum size regulations as those listed for other black bass such as largemouth bass. The Chipola River is accessible in Marianna off CR 280 (Magnolia Rd), Peacock Bridge Rd (located north of Sink Creek), SR 274 west of Altha on Hamilton Spring Rd, and SR 20 at Clarksville. This very scenic, spring-fed coldwater river stretches about 95 miles starting just north of Marianna and running south through the Dead Lake and into the Apalachicola River. The Chipola River has fast water shoals and provides excellent sunfish (redbreast, redear and bluegill) fishing in the spring depending on the water level. Boat operators should be cautious of these shallow limestone shoals while running your boat in this river during low water.

Local information on these rivers and their fishes may be obtained from the Division of Freshwater Fisheries Management, Northwest Regional Office (850-265-3676).

Anglers should always be mindful of the rocky limestone shoals and snags in the river.  The river is still low and travel upstream through shallow, swift shoals may be impossible so anglers should plan accordingly. View daily river levels and flow. External Website

Current Forecast:

Anglers should be mindful of the rocky shoals and snags (logs and other woody material) in this river.  Current water levels throughout Florida may be found  Bream fishing (redear, bluegill, redbreast, and spotted sunfish) should be good throughout the spring as fish begin to spawn.  Try fishing shallow backwater areas for bluegill and redear and around snags and stumps in the river for spotted and redbreast sunfish.  Recommended baits for bream are beetle-spins, worms and crickets.  A few crappie (speckled perch) can be caught in deep holes around snags during the spring with crappie minnows.  Try to plan your fishing trips for early morning or late afternoon.

Largemouth bass and shoal bass fishing will pick up as bass spawn March through April.  Given some of the early warm weather, shoal bass may have already completed their spawn. Competition for the state record shoal bass has been fierce as anglers have been catching and reporting shoal bass greater than 4 pounds since December 2014.  See this news release for a story on one of the more recent certified state record shoal bass (4.49 pounds).Try fishing shallow areas in the river with spinner baits, artificial lizards, dark worms, and artificial crayfish.  Shoal bass can be caught above Highway 20 in shoal areas as well as pools just above and below the shoals using crankbaits that mimic crayfish.  Shoal bass in the Chipola River are mostly found between Spring Creek and Johnny Boy Landing.  There Catch and release is recommended for shoal bass as it is a unique species of black bass. The FWC is proposing the establishment of a catch and release (conservation zone) for shoal bass between Peacock Bridge and Johnny Boy Landing. If interested in shoal bass fishing and proposed regulation changes please take the time to read more and complete a short survey here.

FWC Facts:
American eels spend 10 to 20 years in fresh or brackish waters only to migrate hundreds of miles to spawn in saltwater in the Atlantic’s Sargasso Sea.

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